The Pigeon and the Bum | Fiction

A city’s renewal upends several human and animal lives—a tale from Chinese author Jiang Zijian

I detest the washing machine on the balcony. With each rotation, it would always make the sound of someone wiping their hand on a balloon, which would in turn make my head feel like it was going to explode. For that reason, I kept my washing to a minimum—when I was completely out of T-shirts to wear, I’d do a load.

However, that afternoon as it was running, it made a kind of raspy rhythmic “hoo-hoo” sound. My girlfriend kicked it, but soon, it was back to the usual squeaking.

When the cycle finished, my girlfriend opened the lid, only to find a bunch of clothing had been stained red. She yelled at me: “I’ve told you so many times not to put red clothes with other colors in the wash!” She started pulling items out of the washer and throwing them on the floor.

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The Pigeon and the Bum | Fiction is a story from our issue, “Vital Signs.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.


Jiang Zijian is a contributing writer at The World of Chinese.

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